What is MAJOLICA?
Victorian Majolica was produced from 1849 through 1900.
Majolica is a lead or tin glazed earthenware which is first fired to the biscuit
stage. Then it is decorated with brightly colored metallic glazes and fired
again. This gives the piece the brilliance which is characteristic of majolica.
Early majolica like that of Herbert Minton focused on Renaissance motifs; lions, rams, mythological figures. Other
favorite subjects for majolica are leaves, fruit, vegetables, and other plants, animals,
birds and shells. The oriental influence began to appear as early as 1862 in
London. Monkeys, elephants, bamboo, birds and fans were favorite subjects. By
1900 the production of majolica all but ceased due to the over production and changing
A large portion of majolica is unmarked and must be identified through the presence of
certain characteristics. English marked pieces may display marks of Minton, Wedgwood, George Jones, Joseph Holdcroft, Samuel Lear, S. Fielding, Worcester Royal
Porcelain, W.T. Copeland and Wm. Brownfield or can be identified simply by it's British
Well known American potters include Griffen, Smith and Hill, Edwin
Bennett, Eureka Potteries, George Morley, and Chesapeake Pottery. Many wonderful examples of
continental majolica exist which are represented by Sarreguemines, Luneville, Saint Clement, Choisy-le-Roi,
Villeroy and Boch to name a few.
main characteristics of majolica are:
1. Majolica is a soft and porous earthenware
2. Decorative pattern is part of the mold
3. Glaze is lead or tin based
4. Same palette of colored glazes are used
from piece to piece and manufacturer to manufacturer.
5. Majolica is humorous and fun.
Some words on
collectors look for the 5 characteristic above and are fairly forgiving if a nice piece
has a small chip or hairline. Majolica is a fragile art form and few pieces have
survived this long without some minor damage. Condition will always have some effect
on price, but a nice rare item with some damage will make a great addition to your
Some other links that might interest you!
Majolica International Society
Go to the
Learn more about Josiah Wedgwood
Visit the Wedgwood Society
of Great Britain
the Fielding Pottery Site